Posted by: Matthew Molinari | March 11, 2012

Habits vs Memory

I just started reading The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The overall premise is that there is a big difference between memory and habits. The main difference is that habits work via cues from the outside world. We learn habits through repetition and then rely on them to get us through routines.

How often do you start driving to work and start thinking about your day only to realize that you’re 10 miles down the road? That would be a habit taking over which allows your brain to rely on a series of known occurences to perform a task. During this time, brain activity actual reduces until a stimuli alerts your brain that something has changed from the normal routine – say a red light or someone crossing the street.

The implications of this are pretty clear for marketers, if you can get someone to incorporate your product into their daily routine you can send signals that get them  to purchase your product again. That is why it is so important to get customers from the start of their buying life as the chances are that if you get them, you can keep them.

I wrote about how Target is using tracking to determine what customers want and can even know when someone is pregnant. It may seem crazy but if you think about it, they are simply trying to create a habit in their customers where they look to Target to fill their needs. Chances are, if you can get your business to be a habit for customers, people will start shopping exclusively at your store without them even realizing it.

What are your thoughts?


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